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Title: A preliminary study towards consistent soil moisture retrievals from AMSR2

Author
item PARINUSSA, R.M. - VRIJE UNIVERSITY
item HOLMES, THOMAS
item WANDERS, NIKO - UTRECHT UNIVERSITY
item DORIGO, W.A. - VIENNA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
item DE JEU, R.A.M. - VRIJE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Journal of Hydrometeorology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2018
Publication Date: 11/8/2018
Citation: Parinussa, R., Holmes, T.R., Wanders, N., Dorigo, W., De Jeu, R. 2018. A preliminary study towards consistent soil moisture retrievals from AMSR2. Journal of Hydrometeorology. 45:12884–12891. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL080547.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL080547

Interpretive Summary: Between 2002 and 2011, the satellite-based Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) provided Earth scientists with a consistent and continuous global soil moisture datasets. In particular, researchers at the USDA ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory were able to use AMSR-E soil moisture data products to improve the global monitoring of agricultural drought. However, this dataset was interrupted after failure of the AMSR-E sensor in 2011. This paper details a preliminary study to resume production of the soil moisture dataset using a follow-on satellite-based sensor (AMSR-2) launched after the failure of AMSR-E. Our central goal here is the successful merging of AMSR-E and AMSR-2 soil moisture data products to extend the AMSR global soil moisture data record beyond 2011. The lack of an overlapping observation period presents a major challenge for the inter-calibration of the two sensors. This work demonstrates an inter-calibration procedure that leads to a high degree of consistency between both satellite products. Moreover, a comparison of the newly-derived AMSR2 product to ground-based observations demonstrated good soil moisture retrieval performance over a measurement network located in a semi-arid climate regime, and decreasing performance over more densely vegetated regions. We conclude that the AMSR2 soil moisture products are complementary to existing remotely-sensed soil moisture products and can be used to extend a valuable soil moisture data record.

Technical Abstract: A preliminary study towards consistent soil moisture products from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – 2 (AMSR2) is presented. Its predecessor, the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – Earth Observing System (AMSR-E), has provided Earth scientists with a consistent and continuous global soil moisture dataset between 2002 and 2011. A major challenge remains to accomplish synergy between these datasets, which is hampered by the lack of an overlapping observation period of the sensors. Here, we present an inter-calibration procedure in which the WindSat sensor, which has a similar design as AMSR-E and AMSR-2, serves as a transferring platform of the AMSR-E sensor calibration in order to furnish consistency with the AMSR2 sensor. After the implementation of this inter-calibration procedure, a high degree of consistency (R=0.88) between both satellite products and re-analysis soil moisture was found. A comparison of the newly derived AMSR2 product to ground-based observations showed a high performance (R>0.80) over a measurement network located in a semi-arid climate regime. Its performance decreases when transitioning to more densely vegetated regions, a finding in line with literature. Additional comparison over the ground networks showed that AMSR2 soil moisture products are highly complementary to two existing remotely sensed soil moisture products. Soil moisture anomalies from a combination of the two sensors were found to be closely related to precipitation anomalies over the Australian continent. Nonetheless, care should be taken in its interpretation and future research is needed to better understand the similarities and potential differences between the global soil moisture products retrieved from both AMSR-E and AMSR2.